Effect of Graded Levels of Green Grass Supplementation on Nutrient Digestibility, Rumen Fermentation and Microbial Nitrogen Production in Cattle Fed Rice Straw Alone

  • Chowdhury, S.A. (Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Huque, K.S. (Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute)
  • Received : 1996.07.02
  • Accepted : 1997.06.17
  • Published : 1997.10.01


On an absolute straw diet, the effect of graded levels of green grass supplementation on intake, nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation pattern and microbial N yield has been studied in cattle. Of the two trials conducted, 16 intact growing bulls of 304 kg weight and 32 months old, randomly allocated to four treatments in a completely randomized design in the 1st trial. While, in the, 2nd trial, four rumen cannulated local bulls of about 60 months old and 400 kg weight were used in a $4{\times}4$ Latin square design with four treatments in four periods. In both the trials, in addition to a mineral mixture, animals were supplemented with graded levels of naturally grown green grass of 0 kg (T1), 2 kg (T2), 4 kg (T3) or 6 kg (T4) to an ad libitum rice straw diet In the 1st trial, measurements were made on intake digestibility, growth rate, N balance and microbial N yield. While in the 2nd trial, in addition to the above parameters (except growth rate), rumen parameters were also studied. All levels of grass supplementation decreased the straw DM intake and increased the substitution rate. The rumen $NH_3-N$ concentration increased with the increase in grass level and ranges from 8-46 mg/l. The rumen pH and the rate and extent of DM degradability of straw were not affeceted by different rumen environments created by different levels of grass inclusion. At 48 h, straw DM degradability were 42, 44, 44 and 43% respectively for 0, 2, 4 and 6 kg grass supplementation daily. The whole gut digestibilities of DM, OM and ADF increased significantly (p < 0.05) only at 6 kg level daily. The microbial N yield was not affected by the levels of grass supplemented. The mean microbial N yield was 10 (SD 3.7) g/kg DOM apparently fermented in the rumen. The estimated minimum N loss and thus the maintenance requirement of tissue protein was 303 mg/kg $W^{0.75}/d$. All the animals lost live weight but 6 kg grass supplementation gave positive energy and N balances. Small amount of green grass supplementation is often recommended for optimization of rumen environment of a straw diet However, under the present experimental condition, no such beneficiary effect observed up to 6 kg (26% of DM intake) level of supplementation.